Mendham & Peapack
Mass of Christian Burial
Obituary of Joanne Fanelli-Panus
Beloved Mother, Wife and Volunteer
Joanne Fanelli-Panus, 41, of Mendham, N.J., died on January 7, 2009 at Morristown Memorial Hospital after a courageous year-long battle with cancer.
She leaves behind her adoring husband, Mark Panus, and their two beloved children, Matthew and Michelle Fanelli. She is also survived by her loving parents, Dr. Russell and Lee Fanelli of Longmeadow, Mass.; her sisters, Judith Fanelli of Westfield, Mass., Donna Leone and husband Jamie of Wilbraham, Mass., Karen Fanelli and husband Steve Salier of Sunrise, Fla.; her grandfather, Dr. Raymond Fanelli of Holyoke, Mass.; her brother-in-law, Craig Morey of Granbury, Texas; her in-laws Joseph and Joan Panus of Melbourne Beach, Fla.; Stephen and Kellie Panus of Las Vegas, Nev.; Sarah Panus of Chicago, Ill.; and eight nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her sister, Susan Fanelli Morey, on January 5, 2008, and her grandmother, Ann Fanelli, in 1998.
Born in Holyoke, Mass., on Feb. 6, 1967, Joanne grew up in Longmeadow, Mass., where she attended high school. She graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science degree in 1988 and earned a master of science from the University of Connecticut in 1990 before working as a research assistant in both university and private-sector settings. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in immunology from Duke University in 2001 where she authored several papers that were published in noted scientific journals, including The Journal of Experimental Medicine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
After Duke, Joanne spent two years working as a scientist before unselfishly choosing to stay at home in Bridgewater, N.J., to raise her young children, a decision she would always cherish. After the family moved to Mendham in 2006, she volunteered to teach preschool CCD at the Church of St. Joseph's. It was a labor of love that she continued for two years until her illness prevented her from continuing. Joanne also volunteered her time at Mendham's Hilltop Elementary School, assisting in the library and sharing in class mom roles for both of her children.
During her illness, Joanne continued to display an unwaveringly positive outlook on life, and she lived each day to the fullest. She was forever grateful for the time she spent with her children, who so inspired her to fight this awful disease. She bravely kept an online journal that touched the hearts of family and friends as well as many people she had never met. Joanne never encountered a problem that she could not solve with hard work and perseverance. She didn't lose this battle with cancer so much as she ran out of time while trying to find a solution.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in memory of Joanne Fanelli-Panus to the Morristown Memorial Health Foundation at mmhf.org or P.O. Box 1956, Morristown, NJ 07962-1956.
Arrangements are by Bailey Funeral Home, 8 Hilltop Road, Mendham, where visiting hours will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 11. A funeral mass will take place at the Church of St. Joseph, West Main Street, Mendham, at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, January 12, followed by a graveside prayer at Hilltop Cemetery, 18 Hilltop Road, Mendham. For more information, go to www.baileyfuneralhomes.com.
8 Hilltop Road
Mendham, NJ 07945
176 Main Street
Peapack NJ 07977
For GPS Purposes use Gladstone, NJ 07934